When a veterinarian or oncologist diagnoses canine cancer, often a surgery is done to remove the cancer cells. Surgery remains one of the cornerstones of cancer treatment in dogs.
With surgery, if all things go very well, your veterinary surgeon may be able to completely remove the cancer. This may mean a cure is reached, and the cancer will never come back again.
Other times though, the surgery may be less successful.
Your veterinarian may report that the tumor cells were left in the tissue surrounding the tumor site. Often, guardians will wonder how this is possible.
The way this comes about is that malignant cancers send out cells into the neighborhood which are invisible to the surgeon’s naked eye. The veterinarian is able to see the tumor or the growth many times, yet the tissue around the growth (containing microscopic cancer cells) appears normal.
When this happens, a scar revision surgery should occur.
A scar revision is when the surgeon returns to the first surgery site where the incision is healing, forming a scar. Then, more tissue around the scar is removed in an effort to take any remaining cancer cells.
Although this is not preferred for any guardian, sometimes it is needed. And in some cases in can be life saving.
For more details on treating cancer in dogs, check out the Dog Cancer Survival Guide.
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.